Athabasca University

Virtual Desktop (Citrix) Information

AU staff who are not assigned AU computers, for example tutors and academic experts, are required to do all their AU work in a secure Virtual Desktop environment provided by AU.

Virtual Desktop is a system that provides secure remote access to a Windows 7 virtual desktop with a number of standard AU applications such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat Pro. We deliver this service with Citrix XenDesktop. This system allows staff to remotely access their virtual desktop from a wide variety of devices, not just Windows computers. All data is stored on AU servers, and all patches and upgrades to the virtual desktops are performed by Information Technology Services staff.

To use the Virtual Desktop there are certain requirements for your computer and internet connection:

Computer Requirements:

  • A computer or tablet capable of running the Citrix Receiver.
    • A computer running Windows 7 (or newer) or Apple OS X 10.6 (or newer) is recommended. Older hardware can impact performance, so we recommend a computer purchased within the last 5 years.
    • Windows RT has very limited support at this time.
    • It does work with many iOS and Android devices, but we do not support these platforms, and many people find the interface difficult.
    • It also works with many Linux distributions, but again we do not support this option.

Internet Connection Requirements:

  • A good high speed internet connection with low latency is strongly recommended.
    • Typically ADSL and Cable connections are the best choice.
    • Some fixed wireless internet connections work well, and others perform poorly.
    • Some cellular internet connections work well, and others perform poorly.
    • Satellite internet connections can work, but often perform poorly due to high latency.
    • Dial up will not perform well.

These requirements are subject to change. Staff will be responsible for ensuring their devices and connections continue to meet all requirements.


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This page was updated by Information Technology Services